It took me forever to fall asleep last night and even after I did I was up every two hours. Finally at 6am I accepted that it just wasn’t meant to be and I got out of bed.
Good sleep is important for our long term health and I rarely have a problem getting at least 8 hours a night. But sometimes it just doesn’t happen so instead of fighting it or forcing it, I accept it. There will be many more opportunities for a great night’s sleep.
So, early this morning I got out of bed. I brushed my teeth, got dressed, even shaved, and started my day. There’s something calming and relaxing about getting up earlier than usual. It’s bonus time. It’s a chance to get a head start and I find it sets the tone for the rest of the day.
I let the dogs out, hung the bird feeders (we take them down nightly because of the raccoons), unloaded the dishwasher, read some articles on my phone and then headed to Starbucks. On the way I topped off my tank, ran into Walmart for a few things, and was logged on for work by 8am, the first of two Grande Blonde Roasts ready to be enjoyed (free refills).
I could have stayed in bed, tossing and turning, getting up at the usual time feeling unrested and frustrated but sometimes it’s better to let the day dictate where you go and when. If we fight it we’re going against the grain and more often than not this causes friction and stress. And stress is the one thing that’s worse than a terrible night’s sleep.
I’ve also come to realize that I’m far more productive in the morning. By the time afternoon rolls around I just don’t have the drive I had earlier in the day. I push through it because I have responsibilities but I try my best to get a lot done before lunch realizing my productivity will likely take a dip in the afternoon.
I’m not alone in this approach. Science has compelling evidence that says we’re more productive in the early part of the day. There are also numerous examples of successful people using the morning hours to set them up for a successful rest of their day.
Mark Twain was quoted as saying, ““eat a live frog first thing every morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” The point, of course, is to get the bad stuff, the dreaded stuff, done first so everything after that is cake. Twitter co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey walks 5 miles from his home to his office most mornings while listening to podcasts or music to clear his head and prepare for the day ahead.
During the time he was writing Hamilton, Lin-Manuel Miranda, would start every day with a 2 hour walk with his dog in Central Park.
New York City real estate agent and star of Million Dollar Listing New York, Ryan Serhant, is at the gym every morning by 5:00 am, so by 7am, the hardest part of his day is over; his equivalent of eating a live frog first thing.
There are as many morning routines as there are people but the ones that seem to be the most effective are the ones that have consistency and purpose. They set the foundation for what will follow. Start off with chaos and what will follow will likely be chaos. But start off with calm and focus and what will follow will more often than not be more of the same.